National Treasure

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Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Enjoyable, Predictable, Hot Babe Romp: National Treasure

Sep 2, 2005 (Updated Sep 2, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Action Factor:
  • Special Effects:
  • Suspense:

Pros: Good CGI, Diane Kruger looks hot

Cons:Story, Logical Lapses, Cliches, Uneven Pacing

The Bottom Line: A good film for kids, adults will see all the comparisons to Indiana Jones and not be favorably impressed.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure tries to capture some of the same magic that Indiana Jones sparked in his first film - which was really just a rehash of the old cliffhanger serials anyway - but fails to enchant, despite some good moments.

I’ll submit that Raiders of the Lost Ark was a stroke of lightning and I said it would never happen again. I think the two sequels prove my point; neither was quite up to the tall expectations established by the first installment. But the original film had a great plot, plausible historical connections, wonderful characters with believable motivations, and tense moments wrapped in a sight and sound package that has hardly been equaled since.

Maybe it’s because the “High Priest of Excess” Jerry Bruckheimer is involved as a producer? The only film I’ve seen of his that really resonates with me is Black Hawk Down - the rest of them seem to be overproduced conglomerations of special effects and not much else. In other words, high priced fluff. Certainly Walt Disney studios are capable of better than this? I remember classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure Island, and many more favorites coming under their aegis, but National Treasure is sadly not in the same class as these.

The story is a mish mosh of old clichés with a few logical leaps that don’t quite make it across the chasm. I liked how the film showed reverence for the founding fathers like Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, but when they get to the money shot, why did they have to throw in the Marxian idea that capitalism is bad? The founding fathers were all about private property - none of this “share the wealth” crap in the Federalist Papers that I can recall.

Nic Cage (Matchstick Men) stars as a treasure hunter who throws in with historical preservationist and hot babe Diane Kruger (Troy) and sidekick Justin Bartha to find a vast treasure hidden in colonial times by the founding fathers, who were also freemasons. To do this, he has to find and decipher clues that have baffled generations of treasure hunters before him. To counterbalance the “good guys” we have a team of equally eager treasure hunters as “bad guys” who are bafflingly able to appear on cue wherever Cage’s latest clue takes him!?!

To give some gravitas to the thin story, Bruckheimer peppered his supporting cast with big names like John Voight (Heat), Sean Bean (Ronin) , and even the great Christopher Plummer (Fall of the Roman Empire, Man Who Would Be King). These actors, while doing a good job with the scanty material, probably won’t rank this film high up on their resumes.

Nicolas Cage is at his very best doing comedy. I have never been able to accept him as a man of action or a serious leading man. This performance is no different. Nic just doesn’t have the chops to put across a leading performance sans comedy. He acts as straight man for sidekick Justin Bartha who gets to drop all the one liners, some with good effect, others not so funny, while Diane Kruger gets to look good and gets a Dr added to her name to give her a little bit of ballast.

The Disney DVD contains the film, in color, in 2.35:1 theatrical format, the obligatory and irritating Disney previews, subtitles and a few featurettes, subtitles, and an alternate ending.

I would recommend National Treasure to kids, who will eat it up, while grownups will want to watch it once to see what it is all about but would be better off with a real rousing adventure such as The Man Who Would Be King, Treasure Island, or Indiana Jones.

Thanks for reading!


Recommend this product? No


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: None of the Above

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